Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mumbai Meri Jaan

"Zara hatke zara bachke yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan"

That makes perfect sense when you're on a vacation in Mumbai because every nook and corner of this soulful city is full of temptation. Calories filled temptation. And as they say, you can resist anything but temptation. In less than two days, I saw my vacation turning into a foocation and I'm not complaining.

Disclaimer : it's impossible to do justice in one foocation in this city of dreams. I'm certain I have missed out on some legendary places here, so no raised eyebrows, send me the list instead :-) And I have a separate list for the lip smacking street food, pretty caf├ęs and dessert getaways. I'll save that for later. Yes yes, I feasted on the roadside vadapav and cutting chai, and I did not miss the Theobroma brownies either. For now, just a few favorite places -

Cafe Leopold -
SOBO aka South Bombay is a paradise for lone travelers. You could get lost in those beautiful roads with architectural excellence screaming at you from all sides. On one such solitary reaper evening, I pampered the hopeless romantic in me with a long, never ending walk in SOBO and ended up in Leopold in Colaba causeway. This is a tourist hub and hence always bustling with traveler crowd. Known for the legendary chilly beef and beer combo, but now you may find yourself behind the bars for this heinous crime. Fret not, the chilly chicken is a close competition of course! And if you are still unhappy, come back to Bangalore and I will see you here.  Old world charm isn't the only thing on the cards, be sure to check the 26/11 bullet marks on your way up. And for the avid readers, this is where Shantaram met Karla. Yes, you could sit back, take a sip and visualize the bygone era like how I would. Amazing place to spend an evening alone - my happy place in Mumbai to which I have sworn a customary visit in every Mumbai trip.

Chilly CHICKEN (caps on purpose). 


Cafe Mondegar -
Two birds in one stone from your next legacy stop in SOBO. One, an exemplary dining experience and two, a lesson or two or rather a reality check of your patience. You could either head for their much talked about breakfast or be prepared to stand in the longest queue ever for dinner. I chose the latter out of my ignorance but instant redemption after getting a seat. Mario Miranda cartoons on the wall, cramped seating, polite staff, quick service despite the perpetual rush - that's what you get there. Thanks to the hunger building up over two hours of waiting, I totally missed out on seeing the jukebox there, which apparently still works fine. A must go if you have a thing for artsy places.


Mario Miranda cartoons give the place a refreshingly delightful feel.

Mario Miranda again. He has earned himself a Padma Vibhushan.



Fish and Chips. And Mushroom. All the more delicious after two hours of wait.

A White sauce pasta cannot go wrong, can it?

Pollo Alla Fungi - pan fried chicken on mushroom sauce with french fries


Britannia & Co.

One of the iconic Parsi places in Mumbai that has got lovers and haters alike. I checked it off my bucket list hoping to be part of the former and I sure did. Love at first sight 'cause the place had me at the old rustic charm itself. Teleports you back to the pre-independence era. Saw boards with messages like "cards not accepted", "don't argue with the management" etc. I found the uncle crude and sweet at the same time. They had a drowsy, sleepy kitty walking around and lying down as though she attained nirvana and after my round of binge here, I could very well relate to the cat. Yes, there are many other Irani places with brun maska and chai that people would vouch for than this "over hyped over priced" place, but sorry guys, the crowd rushing in here and myself got out with mini nirvana and hence shall keep the haters out of sight. I am not exaggerating but if you know what it's like to get high on food, this happened to both of us and we sat down under the shades of a tree, all content with life.  

There is the old world charm smiling right at you. The aura can be felt right from where I took this pic.
A foreigner came forward and offered to take a pic when I was struggling for a selfie. Ek front cam selfie ka keemat tu kya jano firang babu?

Repeat : pre- independence establishment. Pride.

Berry Pulao (mutton & chicken) with Saali Boti. I went with neutral expectation was totally blown away by the
berry pulao. Caramelised onions and the berries go very well with the masala of the meat. The meat was tender and boneless. The joy of good food and actually ticking it off your long pending bucket list - priceless. For everything else, there's mastarcard. Oh wait, they do not accept cards.

No matter how stuffed you feel, you MUST order one of these caramel pudding.
Even the haters of the place vouch for this. 



Gajalee

I had the 1000 watt smile on when my aunt drove me to Gajalee. One of the inexplicable joys of visiting a coastal area is the fresh fish that you get to lay your hands on and Gajalee didn't disappoint me one bit. After all, they won the Times Food award for the best coastal spread. Simple decor and very amiable staff. Not to mention the Maharashtrian coastal food which was almost perfect. I found the name so majestic that I wanted to rechristen myself to Gajalee while I was there. 


Crab, Fish, Lobster..and my friend who came along was really upset that the crab heard our conversation that went like
"how do you want this cooked? green curry or red curry? with shell or without shell?". She thought it was pretty mean,
Thoughtful, but we learned a thing or two about food chain so let's ignore.

Delectable Fish Thali. As fresh as it can get. Loved the tangy flavour of the curry and the freshness of the fish.
We need a beach and all the edible things in there. I want to bring back the beach, cutting chai walahs and auto drivers from there to Bangalore. 


And there comes the crab in green curry. Not on the spicier side. 

Seer fish. Fresh and heavenly.

The melt in the mouth bombil fry. 
Solkadi. Felt it was a little too oily. 

Malai Kulfi. I had that ALL by myself. I haven't had good kulfi in a long long time and this was an absolute bliss.


Indigo delicassen

If you are an epicure, this is the place to be in. This also happens to be a go to place of a glutton friend of mine in Mumbai. She vouches for their consistency in keeping you happy with the fine food and I wouldn't doubt that either. 
Icing on the cake would be the celeb spotting. I had my share, but trust me, you wouldn't be too bothered once the edible celebs land up on your table. And us gluttons have our priorities set straight, don't we! Ambiance, food, service - all check. And yes, a dent in the wallet - check! But after the foodgasm that you get here, you wouldn't complain of the lighter wallet.


Chorizo, olive and cheddar - can a Pizza get better? Quite light and would let you binge more!

Tiger prawns in lemon base. Served on a bed of rice. I find myself always at a loss to explain how good prawns can get,
and this time its no different. The third tiger prawn had us both throw the chivalry out of the window and give suggestive looks to each other. 

Banana and caramel pie with a chocolate base. Banana and caramel is a match made in heaven.
I'm only sad they put chocolate base to it as kabab mein haddi. The banana tasted a little too ripe for my liking,
but a good dessert otherwise. 


That was a bit of from my gastronomic tripping in Mumbai. See you soon with more of these, until then keep eating! :-)

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